This week on Rootstock Radio, host Theresa Marquez speaks to Keefe Keeley — executive director of the Savanna Institute. The Savanna Institute is based out of Champagne, Illinois, and focuses on production agroforestry and perennial agriculture in the Midwest.
Keefe says perennial agriculture is part of the answer to sustainable farming. Perennial agriculture does not require yearly plowing where much of the carbon in the soil is lost. Pasture farming is one of the most tried and true methods of raising food with perennial plants. Cattle are able to turn grass, which humans can’t eat, into nutrient rich food for humans.
The Savanna Institute is also trying to get trees to work on farms. “When a tree is in the wrong spot on a farm,” explains Keefe, “it’s a weed.” But when a tree grows in the right spot, it provides a lot of potential benefits. Agroforestry is trying to find out what the right spot is for a tree to do a job like blocking the wind or filtering the water.